I missed the Black-winged Stilt which spent a few hours last spring at Radipole Lake by three minutes, and managed to not hear about another one at the same location on Wednesday until it was too late, so it had started to feel like a potential bogey bird for my Dorset list. Fortunately it stuck around and I managed to catch up with it at Abbotsbury Swannery later in the week though the views of the bird - which is thought to be the same one phtographed by James Packer at Chew Valley Lake - were distant.
After stepping in one too many piles of Portland's special brand of footpath jam this morning, I decided to leave the island and head to the Swannery for another look. Although this involved shelling out £10.50 for the entry fee, the accommodating staff provided access to a hide not normally open to the public, which afforded much better views of the Stilt than were possible from the road. It skirted the edge of a wet meadow to the right of the hide and while it never came close, some passable photos were still possible. Quite bold in the face of provocation from Coots and a Great-blacked Back Gull, after a long preen it hopped about comically on one stilt for a bit, but looked much more elegant when using both.
6 months ago